With loads of new opportunities to seize in freshers week and beyond, it can be really easy to find something you’ve never done before. However, it can also be easy to avoid signing up for new opportunities in the fear that all free time should be spent on other things, either academic study or endless socialising on nights out. There are so many opportunities within the first few weeks of freshers to try something new and I’d definitely recommend finding a few different taster sessions to try. It can be a great way to spend time with new friends as well as providing the chance to meet new people that have a common interest. One piece of advice I heard as a fresher and would definitely pass on to others is…
“It’s better to trying something new and not enjoy it than it is to not try anything at all”


In my first year at Hatfield I joined Hatfield College Boat Club (HCBC). On the clubs and societies night of Freshers week I joined in with the boat club social and right from the start I loved the family-like and inclusive atmosphere. There were people who’d been rowing for years but wanted to continue at a collegiate level as opposed to DU, people who’d never been in a boat before, and people who insisted they’re “not at all sporty”, pretty sure sport wasn’t for them but thought it would be a shame not to try due to the convenience of it. A few weeks into the novice rowing programme and I was thoroughly enjoying it (well maybe not the outings in the rain, I grew to enjoy that a bit later on), and the same applied to just about everyone I spoke to. 


HCBC was founded in 1846, just like the college, making it one of the oldest college clubs and societies as well as providing an extensive and exciting history. There is a strong Novice Development programme in place, taking on absolute beginners ever year with the option of competing in the inter-collegiate Novice Cup after gaining some experience. As well as this, HCBC provides the opportunity to train as a Cox (the person in a boat who controls the steering, coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers, and helps build team cohesion). This is something I particularly enjoyed doing in my first year as I found it really gave me the opportunity to grow in confidence and as a leader – and two years later, I’m thriving from the opportunity to train new coxes as HCBC Coxes Captain which is something I never believed possible in a sport I’d started so recently

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The club also has strong, experienced Men’s and Women’s squads, competing throughout the year at a range of local and national events. For example, last year the Mens Squad won Coxed IV events at Tyne, Durham, and York Small Boat Heads, as well as competing well at BUCS. Each year we aim to send crews to the Head of the River Race in London, and are supported by a large number of alumni who still feel a strong connection with the club. This is something that really demonstrates the amazing sense of comradery within the club. 

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As much as it’s brilliant to come out of first year with brilliant grades, it’s also a year that academically doesn’t count towards your final degree. So utilise it the best you can to try out new things, new sports and hobbies, new ways of socialising and new ways of working too. 

Kathryn Rodgers, 2nd Year Natural Sicences

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